Stage II Water Shortage Emergency November 2014 Update

Since the Stage II Water Shortage Emergency was declared on September 9, 2014 customers have responded by reducing water use system-wide by 10%, and achieved a residential per capita water use of 64 gallons per day! The Stage II restrictions primarily target outdoor water use. Properties using fixed (i.e. installed sprinkler systems) may now water only before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays for Residential customers, Tuesdays and Fridays for Businesses. Manual watering (including a sprinkler attached to a hose) is allowed before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. no more than two days per week. Hoses must be equipped with a shut off nozzle, and watering of hard surfaces is generally prohibited. For a full list of restrictions click here, or continue reading below. 

To inform customers of the new restrictions the District implemented a comprehensive Stage II Water Shortage Emergency public outreach campaign in October which included public service announcements on television and radio, newspaper and online advertisements, and billing inserts and messages. The District also shared Stage II Water Shortage Emergency information with customers at the 24th Annual California Lemon Festival in Goleta.

The District is working with restaurants, hotels and recycled water customers to promote water conservation efforts. You may notice one of the over 1,500 “We Only Serve Water Upon Request” table tents that have been distributed to area restaurants. Signs identifying “Drought-Friendly Recycled Water in Use” have also been distributed to District Recycled Water Program customers, and are being posted throughout the area. The Recycled Water Program produces and distributes 1,000 acre feet per year for use in outdoor irrigation and other non-potable uses which increases the District’s potable water supplies for customers. Click here for more information about the Recycled Water Program.

Looking for additional ways to save water? The District recently launched the Smart Landscape Rebate Program which provides incentives to residential and commercial customers to replace water thirsty landscapes and inefficient irrigation with water-wise plants and irrigation. The program covers a portion of the cost of pre-approved design, irrigation equipment, and landscape materials. Projects must be approved in advance and landscapes for new construction are not eligible. Click here for more information about the Smart Landscape Rebate Program.

In the coming months the District will launch several new water conservation incentive and rebate programs to improve water efficiency. Customers are encouraged to contact the District for additional information on the Stage II Water Shortage restrictions, rebate programs, water saving tips, and any other questions by calling (805)964-6761, or by emailing Turn on Javascript!.

Background on the Stage II Water Shortage Emergency Declaration

On September 9, 2014 the Goleta Water District Board of Directors declared a Stage II Water Shortage Emergency and established mandatory water use restrictions necessary to cut water use by 25% district-wide. Even with customer investment in a diverse water supply portfolio and careful management, the declaration was triggered by a 16% reduction in the District’s projected 12 month supply following three years of intense drought. The declaration is also necessary to comply with recently adopted State Emergency Regulations that place mandatory restrictions on outdoor watering.

To comply with the voter approved SAFE Water Supplies Ordinance, adopted in a 1991 ballot initiative, the Board of Directors voted to prohibit the approval of applications for new or additional potable water connections, effective October 1, 2014. SAFE requires this action when water delivery from Lake Cachuma is reduced below 100%.

As over half of all water used in the Goleta Valley is used outdoors, mandatory water use restrictions primarily target outdoor use. 

Watering landscaping is restricted to no more than two times per week during early morning or late evening hours. Residential properties using fixed (i.e. installed sprinkler systems) may water Wednesdays and Saturdays, before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Businesses using fixed irrigation systems may water Tuesdays and Fridays, before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Manual watering (including a sprinkler attached to a hose) is allowed before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m., any two days per week. Wasting water is prohibited, including watering in a way that results in runoff from the property, and allowing water to escape from plumbing breaks for more than 48 hours. Water features such as fountains must recirculate and can only be used on residential properties, or if they are home to aquatic life.

Hoses used for any purpose must be equipped with a shut-off nozzle. Direct application of water to sidewalks, pavements, open ground, or other hard surfaced area, as well as washing buildings, dwellings or other structures, is generally prohibited. Vehicles and boats may only be washed at commercial car washing facilities or with a hose equipped with a shut-off nozzle. 

Restaurants are prohibited from serving water unless requested by the patron. Hotels, motels, and other lodging are encouraged to post water shortage notices and water conservation tips, and refrain from daily linen washing unless specifically requested by the patron. Gyms, athletic clubs, public pools, and other similar establishments are encouraged to post water shortage notices at their facilities and promote shortened showers.  Residents are encouraged to use pool covers, which reduce water loss associated with evaporation. Rebates for pool covers will be available while supplies last.

The District is working with agricultural customers using water to irrigate commercial crops, including nurseries, to encourage conservation activities that minimize crop loss such as avoiding watering during daylight hours and using efficient irrigation systems. 

Repeated violations will be penalized with fines ranging from $100 up to $500. However, the District is focusing on educating customers about the new Stage II Water Shortage restrictions and initial infractions will first receive a written warning so that the customer can correct the problem. If a subsequent violation occurs, a notice of violation will be issued.  Only after the written warning and a notice of violation will a $100 fine be issued, with repeated violations receiving escalating fines. Customers seeking an exception must complete a written application, and include the specific regulation for which the exception is requested, the reason for the request, and supporting documentation that demonstrates the need for an exception. Information on how to request an exception, or appeal a fine can be found by clicking here.

The District is requesting the help of the public in reporting violations of Stage II restrictions, instances of water waste, and suspected cases of water theft. Members of the public who witness unauthorized use of water are encouraged to contact the District immediately at (805)964-6761 with the date, time, and location (address) of the incident. Photos are encouraged and will help the District identify the individual and impose penalties.